Archive for May, 2012

Open House Miniatures - handpainted screen, birds and foliage

I have been working on a painted screen this week.

It is quite a sophisticated and complicated design, and has a greater range of colours than I normally consider using in something of this size.

It made me remember conversations that I have had in the past, when I have been asked to scan something so that copies can be made more quickly (and cheaply).

Below is an example that shows why I have always said, “no”.

Open House Miniatures - scan of screen

They really are the same screen  – only the bright light of the scanner has burnt out subtle details and flattened the colours.

The image is also blurred – this is mainly the fault of my scanner, which can just about cope with black and white documents; but the upload process to WordPress (when an image gets “crunched”) did not help !

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Crackle Glaze

Open House Miniatures - crackle glaze effect

This blog entry is completely biased – I am not an admirer “Crackle Glaze” products and usually dislike the utterly fake effect they produce.

When the same product is the put in a smaller bottle, with a label on it that says  “For Miniature Work” (or similar) steam begins to come out of my ears and I see red.

The reason for this over-the-top reaction is unhappy experience of full-size “crackle” effect  – huge, cavernous cracks separating vast areas of glaze – all over my hard work.

So what do I do if I need  a cracked, aged effect in miniature?

The example above is on the flat surface of a card screen, which has been painted with household emulsion paint (with a “washable” surface).

When this paint was completely dry, I applied a coat of washable PVA glue.

It was a thick coat and I brushed it on up and down, top to bottom, following what would be the grain of the wood in real life.

When the glue was completely dry, I varnished over the top of it with a water-based household (Ronseal) clear matt varnish.

On one panel I applied the varnish with quick light strokes, top to bottom – in the same direction as the glue.

On the other two panels I scrubbed the brush around a bit and the glue dissolved and formed  disastrous looking, lumpy globules.

I let this coat of varnish dry completely – lumps and all – and as it dried cracks formed in it.

I found these cracks impossible to photograph – so I moved on to the next stage and lightly sanded, up and down, the imaginary grain of the wood.

(I used the fine sand-paper that is sold for sharpening pencils – this is the finest grade, that works on this sort of surface, I have ever found )

When the surface was no longer lumpy, I brushed on a coat of coloured varnish (Ronseal, medium oak, gloss), and watched that sink into the cracks.

Then I brushed on some more coloured varnish ( I wanted a dark treacley finish) – and then I let the varnish dry completely.

Open House miniatures - crackle glaze wet

The final stage was all sanding, and then more sanding, until the surface was smooth.

I then rubbed over the sanded surface with an old towel, to remove the dust, and the surface came up clean with a softly polished glow.

I may continue to sand until the majority of the coloured varnish is gone, but for today I stopped here.

Open House Miniatures - crackle glaze detail

Different paint, PVA and varnish give slightly different finishes (some with a much smaller “crack” effect. It is worthwile practicing on spare card, or paper until you get a result that pleases you.

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Open House Miniatures - 12th scale needlework cushions

I enjoy embroidery, and these little cushions are (relatively) quick and easy to make.

For the examples above, I used odds and ends of Anchor and DMC embroidery cotton and 22 count Aida cloth.

I worked in half cross-stitch and, at this size and on this fabric, 2 strands of thread gives a finish that I like.

The cushions are backed with fine, unbleached linen – from an old shirt – and filled with a very small quantity of modern toy stuffing.

The butterfly is copied from a Victorian sampler in the V & A collection, but the other designs are my own.

I am sorry that I do not have enough free space to make up and store kits for 12th scale needlework projects, but anyone who would like to is welcome to use these patterns.

PLEASE NOTE: All the patterns on this blog are for personal use only, and not for resale.

Butterfly_OHM_ 20120415

Cabbage_Rose_OHM_ 20120412


Rose_Stripe_OHM_ 20120417

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If you have time – and patience ! – the designs make up very nicely as cards.

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